Malkia Strikers in tough Olympics opener

Malkia Strikers celebrate a previous victory. They have been drawn in a tough group for the Olympics that includes hosts Japan. PHOTO/COURTESY

The national women volleyball team Malkia Strikers will open their quest for an Olympic gold with a tricky fixture against hosts Japan when the global bonanza kicks off in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9.

The marauding queens who will be making a return to the global stage after a 16- year hiatus will be hoping to hit the ground running with a victory against the Asian nation on July 26 before clashing against South Korea two days later.

There will be no respite for the African representatives as only four days later they will come face to face with 2016 silver medalists Serbia before squaring it out with the Dominican Republic on August 1.

The Kenyans will end their preliminary campaigns against 2012 gold medalists Brazil on August 3.

The finals will be held at the newly constructed Ariake Arena in Tokyo on the last day of the competition ahead of the closing ceremony

The last time the Kenya participated at this stage was in 2004 in Athens, Greece where they went on to lose all their preliminary stage matches and did so without winning a single set.

However, head coach Paul Bitok indicated that he is cognizant of the terrible statistics and is working round the clock to rectify the same.

Part of the scheme is to have the team tour Europe to familiarize themselves and adjust to the weather patterns ahead of the games.

Malkia Strikers thumped Cameroon to secure the sole right to represent the continent in the quadrennial competition.


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